Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.)

Expanding Opportunity, Empowering Youth

aka Y.O.U.   |   Evanston, IL   |  http://www.youthopportunity.org

Mission

Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) is a youth development agency that promotes the agency, success, and well-being of young people and their families through identity-affirming relationships, expanded learning opportunities, and resources to meet emerging needs. Y.O.U. envisions a future where all structures and systems support young people in designing their own paths to success and bringing about the changes they want to see in the world.

Ruling year info

1973

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Craig Lynch

Main address

1911 Church Street

Evanston, IL 60201 USA

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Formerly known as

Youth Organizations Umbrella, Inc.

EIN

36-2734966

NTEE code info

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Y.O.U. closes the opportunity gap by preparing youth for post-secondary and life success.

Since 1972, upper-income parents have increased their yearly investments in out-of-school tutoring and extra-curriculars by over $5,000 (adjusted for inflation) while lower-income parents have increased their investments by less than $500 due to financial constraints.

Y.O.U. addresses this opportunity gap by partnering with families, schools, and the community to provide academic, social, and emotional support to 1,600 youth and families each year, ensuring every young person has the opportunity to succeed. All of Y.O.U.'s services are relationship-based and free for youth and families.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Community-Based Services

Since 1976, Y.O.U. has led community-based programs for youth and young adults ages 11-22 through street outreach and drop-in services for housing insecure, unaccompanied, runaway and homeless, and/or locked out youth. Services provided include targeted street outreach; provision of basic gateway services, including food, referrals to shelter, and transportation passes; 24-hour response and placement in temporary shelters; counseling and case management; and coordination with local service providers. Y.O.U.’s holistic youth-centered community service model addresses the social and emotional well-being of underserved youth and young adults and strengthens the integration of services to ensure they are comprehensive, and all necessary referrals are provided in a timely and appropriate manner. These efforts result in increased stability, well-being, and resiliency of served youth.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth
Homeless people

Y.O.U. is the only provider of free, integrated, school-based afterschool and summer services in Evanston, filling a key gap for underserved families. Our unique approach includes drawing on partnerships between community, school, and service institutions; providing mental health services in familiar school locations; and integrating traditional OST and youth development programming. We focus on three areas:
- Academic: Tutoring and homework support, STEM and literacy project-based learning, executive functioning support, and academic goal setting
- Social: Programs focus on the four “C” skills critical in preparing youth to succeed in the 21st Century: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity
- Emotional: The development of intrapersonal skills is emphasized. Trauma-informed therapeutic and preventative treatment groups, as well as individual and family counseling, crisis intervention, and case management are offered on-site by licensed clinicans.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
At-risk youth

Where we work

Awards

Education Impact Award 2013

United Way of Metropolitan Chicago

Philanthropy Award - Human Services, Family, Youth and Child 2013

Make It Better magazine

External assessments

Evaluated via the Impact Genome Project (2019)

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of youth who have a positive adult role model

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Ethnic and racial groups, At-risk youth

Related Program

Out-of-School Time Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Percent of program participants reporting they have at least one trusted adult in their life.

Number of youth who consider the implications of their actions on others, their community, and the environment

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Ethnic and racial groups, At-risk youth

Related Program

Out-of-School Time Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Percent of program participants who think it's important to participate positively in their school and/or their community

Number of youth who demonstrate motivation to learn

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Ethnic and racial groups, At-risk youth

Related Program

Out-of-School Time Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Percent of program participants who demonstrate academic motivation

Number of youth who demonstrate that they have developed a strong sense of self

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Ethnic and racial groups, At-risk youth

Related Program

Out-of-School Time Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Percent of program participants who demonstrate self-confidence.

Number of youth who demonstrate critical thinking skills (e.g., reasoning, analysis)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Ethnic and racial groups, At-risk youth

Related Program

Out-of-School Time Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Percent of program participants who can come up with multiple solutions to solve a problem with peers.

Number of students showing interest in topics related to STEM

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Ethnic and racial groups, At-risk youth

Related Program

Out-of-School Time Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Percent of STEM program participants who like to learn new things about STEM.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We aim to close the opportunity gap by preparing youth for post-secondary and life success. Our programs target low-income, under-served youth and their families – a focus that responds to the growing disparity in access to vital services in our community. Our overall goal is for all young people to acquire the skills, self-confidence, and opportunity to participate fully, freely, and responsibly in the life of the community. Our objectives to meet this goal are:
1. To provide youth with academic enrichment and tutoring to help them develop the skills and confidence they need to succeed academically and prepare them to be responsible, self-directed, lifelong learners.
2. To support the emotional well-being of youth through one-on-one, family, and group mental health counseling, case management, trauma-informed programming, and relationship-based activities that help them regulate their emotions and cope with trauma and social and economic hardship.
3. To impart youth with the social skills necessary to build social maturity and healthy relationships with peers, adults, and families.

We serve under-served youth (ages 8-21) who lack access to opportunities because of their socioeconomic status. Over 85% of our youth are low-income, and over 90% are minorities. Most live in areas of Evanston and Niles Townships, Illinois that have been federally designated for their disproportionately high levels of poverty, crime, and foreclosure and low levels of adult education, and all attend Title I schools. Because our youth must deal with adult issues such as poverty, racism, family trauma, and violence, their ability to succeed is threatened. By providing holistic support for these youth, we ensure they have the opportunity to realize their full potential.

Y.O.U. has a three-pronged strategy of for closing the opportunity gap and preparing youth for post-secondary and life success. We call it our ABC's -- Advance, Build, Catalyze:

1. Advance Youth Success: Our Out-of-School Time Program provides free, high-quality learning, social-emotional enrichment, and trauma-informed support services for 1,000 youth (grades 3-12) across 11 Title I (i.e., high-need) schools.

2. Build Youth Resilience: Our Clinical and Outreach team provides mental health counseling, case management, and 24-7 housing crisis intervention to support the resilience of youth in our community.

3. Catalyze Parent Networks: Through monthly family nights, leadership development opportunities, and caregiver support groups, we engage parents advocates in our programs.

Y.O.U. is the lead agency in our service area providing high-quality, out-of-school time services and programming to at-risk youth. We currently manage eleven 21st Century Community Learning Center afterschool programs under the supervision on the Illinois State Board of Education, as well as two community school initiatives in Evanston and Skokie. Our 45-year history of forming deep, trusting relationships with youth makes us uniquely positioned to provide accessible, holistic, and supportive services that address our community's unique needs and empower our youth to succeed academically, socially, and emotionally.

Our wraparound, comprehensive approach to youth services is based on best-practice interventions that are proven to holistically improve youth's academic, social, and emotional outcomes. For example, extensive research shows that long-term participation in structured extracurricular activities like those we offer through our afterschool and summer enrichment programming is linked to higher educational attainment, greater future earnings, increased well-being, improved healthy choices, and prosocial behaviors for youth (K. Snelman, et al. 2015). Meanwhile, our unique approach of embedding mental health counseling into our existing youth and family programming is proven to lower barriers to youth acknowledging mental health needs and to increase treatment retention and efficacy for low-income, at-risk populations (B.H. Ellis, et al. 2011). Finally, children whose families are more engaged in their educational experience achieve greater academic success, attend school more regularly, and are more likley to persist on to post-secondary education (United Way 2015). Together, these services create an accessible, holistic, and interwoven support system for low-income youth to ensure their academic, socio-emotional, and life success.

Over the last six years, Y.O.U. has expanded its reach to impact more youth and families even more deeply than ever before. Indeed, we have grown from serving 450 youth across eight sites in 2009 to serving more than 1,500 youth across eleven sites in 2015, and we have expanded from serving only Evanston youth to serving under-served areas of Skokie and Morton Grove as well. Since our founding in 1971, we have provided over 20,000 youth with services that dramatically improve their academic achievement and promote their social and emotional well-being.

Our wraparound services have a powerful and measurable impact on our community. In 2017:
• 94% of youth in our programs reported strong self-confidence;
• 93% of youth in our programs knew how to set goals for their future;
• 89% of youth in our programs demonstrated strong leadership skills;
• 85% of youth in our programs improved or maintained their academic performance; and
• 88% of Y.O.U. caregivers reported that Y.O.U. helped them feel more involved in their child's learning.

Our commitment to ongoing evaluation and continuous improvement makes us confident that our services will continue to effectively support youth's post-secondary and life success well into the future – creating our community's next generation of passionate, empowered young leaders.

Financials

Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.)
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.)

Board of directors
as of 1/21/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Letitia Mann

Community Volunteer

Jim Blake

Kaufman Hall

Abigail Butkus

Johnson Controls, Inc.

Marty Cless

Core & Rind Hospitality

Matthew English III

Exelon Corporation

Elizabeth Ester

North Shore Country Day School

Mary Finnegan

Community Volunteer

Lucinda Fox

Community Volunteer

Marya Frankel

Community Volunteer

David Hill

United Healthcare

Leslie Lehner

Educator (retired)

Kevin Mack

@properties

Letitia Mann

Community Volunteer

Marina Marich

Bully Pulpit Interactive

Adele Martel

Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital; Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (retired)

Kevin Mott

Edward Jones

Laura-Min Proctor

William Blair

Karin Ruetzel

Clinical Psychologist

Dawn Samaris

Kaufman Hall

Barbara Shwom

Northwestern University

Clarence Weaver

C & W Market and Ice Cream Parlor

Aiisya Williamson

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, NorthShore University HealthSystem

Henry Wilkins

Reynolds Consumer Products

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/21/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Male

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/18/2019

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.